Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, December 27, 2010

About Those Teeth

I think I mentioned on my other blog that Axel's teeth are a mess, which is putting it gently. Thankfully he'll be going the the dentist the first week of January. (Please pray his insurance is in place by then! There was a small glitch in paperwork.)

When I first got custody of Axel, he LOVED the vibrating/spinning toothbrush, but I couldn't really get in there to actually see the condition of his teeth. By about the 3rd or 4th day I could see that what I thought were missing teeth in front were actually teeth that had broken off. I still can't brush his teeth very effectively, but I can at least get into his mouth. Although he does not not act like he's in any pain, when I brush his teeth his mouth bleeds like I've severed an artery. But I understand the pain tolerance thing, because Angela is the same way. Her neurologist says that kids with DS are lacking pain receptors, given them a very high pain tolerance.

Tonight we were playing a game of "open wide!", and I used the camera to show him what it looks like when he does. He thought this was lots of fun, and I realized I could get some good pictures of his teeth! (sorry, these were taken before he brushed his teeth for the night.) Remember you can click on any pictures to make them bigger.

First, we got a cute smile. Not quite "open wide" though.


then he helped me out a little bit. Check out the tooth on the bottom left.


Check out the rotten bottom left tooth and major gum deterioration on the bottom right.

His top teeth are the worst, as far as I can see at this point. Where the teeth are missing, there are actually pieces of the old broken tooth still stuck in the gums. You can see that the next tooth back on both sides is broken off and completely rotted. Who knows what the tooth behind that looks like.

I can't see to the back of his mouth to see what he has for permanent molars. I don't think he's gotten his 12 year molars in yet. Most kids get them around 10 or so, but kids with DS often get them late. Angela didn't get hers until she was 13.

I know of a couple kids who've come from Eastern Europe and came home needing some, or all of their teeth pulled, but they've been baby teeth. I don't know what happens when they have to remove permanent teeth this young. Do they put implants in? Does anyone know???

Dean and I have said several times, Axel is our warm up as far as adopting older children go. We know that Ianna's teeth are going to be in MUCH worse condition.

What I don't get is why these kids are not provided with basic preventative dental care. Axel had been in a foster home for 2 1/2 years, and I know the family took good care of him. I think most of this damage was done before he was moved to the foster home, while he was still in the institution. And, maybe the dental care just wasn't made available to foster family to access for him. Whatever the reason, it's going to be awful oral surgery for him. So unfair to have to put a child through that.

4 comments:

Shea said...

Can't put implants in until they stop growing

AddingOn said...

I'm sorry your baby has to go through that. Anastasia was only in the orphanage for 2 years and 3 of her teeth rotted out in that time. I saw their bathroom, they each had a toothbrush with a cup. Once she could speak English, I asked her about brushing her teeth (she loves brushing her teeth and does a great job)
she said they never brushed their teeth, and when she asked if she could they said no.
A lot of how quickly a person gets cavities, etc... is hereditary. Also the amount of saliva that sits in the mouth.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Ohhh that makes me HURT!!! Thank GOD for a high pain tolerance, huh?! Hope it is not too hard for them to fix! :(

Amy L said...

Wow! Poor little guy! I just don't get why some of our kids don't get to brush their teeth while they are in institutional settings. I would think that brushing their teeth would be such an easy thing to do and it would prevent so many problems like Axel has had with his teeth.:( I read all your posts about teeth and they are very interesting. I will let you know what our dentist has to say about Liam's. I just keep praying, he just needs a good cleaning.